For a condition that affects 500 million of us globally, Diabetes Mellitus is often misunderstood, or not taken as seriously as it should be.
The main types are 1 and 2, but there are several other rarer forms of diabetes which are just as important. These types affect around 2% of people with the condition.
For those without diabetes, the pancreas senses when glucose has entered the bloodstream and releases the perfect amount of a hormone called insulin to ensure this glucose is converted into energy. in our body rely on glucose, but it’s difficult for the glucose to enter these cells directly. Insulin plays the role of a convenient little key that can unlock our cells so that the glucose can enter them, but if you have Diabetes, this system doesn’t work.
Diabetes interferes by creating either an excess of glucose, and not enough insulin, or by not making any insulin at all, or insulin that is ineffective. Type 1 Diabetes means you can’t make any or enough but if you have type 2 (90% of people with diabetes have type 2!), the insulin your body produces is inadequate or there is simply not enough of it.
A build up of glucose in the blood is very problematic, and over an extended period of time can cause damage to the heart, eyes, kidneys and feet. It can also lead to a condition called Painful Diabetic Neuropathy, which is a type of nerve damage as a result of diabetes complications. We are currently enrolling for studies into pain management for diabetic neuropathy. You can complete one of our online forms at this link if you or someone you know has been suffering with complications from diabetes and think one of our studies might help.
There are several diabetes myths that have been in circulation for a long time, and we’re all about myth busting at SPCR! Here are the most popular misconceptions about diabetes.. Make sure to spread the word!
People with Diabetes can’t eat sugar.
False! People with diabetes should eat a balanced diet, which can include sugar in moderation.
People with Diabetes eventually go blind, or lose their legs.
Blindness and amputation are both preventable complications of diabetes. It is becoming an increasingly manageable condition, and with the right lifestyle and diet including quitting smoking, binge drinking and staying on top of glucose levels and blood pressure, blindness and amputation are absolutely preventable and complications of the past.
Diabetics are dangerous drivers.
Most people with diabetes can drive safely. The main danger of driving with diabetes is if Hypoglycemia occurs, due to low levels of blood sugar. Hypos are also a preventable state, and most diabetics who experience this take care to make sure it doesn’t happen whilst driving. You can read more about safe driving and Diabetes here.
Diabetics shouldn’t play sports.
Just like non diabetics, people with diabetes should play sport and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Click here to view a list of successful athletes who have diabetes.
Diabetes has no symptoms, only my doctor will know if I have it.
This isn’t necessarily true, although the warning signs can be subtle, they’re worth keeping an eye out for. Constantly feeling dehydrated despite drinking water, frequent trips to the bathroom and unexplained weight loss may be something worth raising with your GP.